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Energy Efficiency | February 3, 2017

Presidents Day Appliance Sales: How to Choose the Most Energy Efficient Appliances

Presidents Day, officially the third Monday of February, is meant to celebrate — depending on which history site you read — George Washington’s birthday (actually Feb. 22) and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday (Feb. 12) or all presidents, generally. Whatever the intent in settling this holiday on one date, it is also the first official shopping holiday of the year and a wonderful time to find deals on everything from mattresses to the most energy efficient appliances.

In order to help you make the best of the many Presidents Day appliance sales out there, we’ve put together a list of how to shop for the most energy efficient appliances. After all, why get a new appliance if you’re not going to get one that’s energy efficient too?? Happy shopping!

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How to Shop for the Best Energy Efficient Fridges

We know that top mount fridges are the most energy efficient in general. But what else should you consider as you look for the best energy efficient fridges? Here are some tips:

  • Looking for the ENERGY STAR certification label is always a good place to start. In 2017, however, ENERGY STAR added another rating level to its certification, designating certain appliances — including fridges — that have both top energy efficiency and the latest technological innovations. They have provided this certification for fridges that are mid-sized, large and extra-large, so you should be able to find one that meets your needs.
  • Skip the ice and water dispenser if you can. While handy, this add-on is often the first to break on a fridge and also increases a fridge’s energy consumption by as much as 20 percent, the Consumer Energy Center says.

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How to Shop for the Best Energy Efficient Stoves

Interestingly, stoves (and their accompanying ovens) used in home kitchens do not carry federal energy ratings. Home cooks often have preferences on which form of energy their stove uses — natural gas or electricity. If price is your main concern, electric stoves usually cost less to purchase. However, gas is typically less expensive than electricity so gas stoves usually cost less to operate. The least expensive stove to operate, reports the Consumer Energy Center, is a gas stove that has electric ignition. This ignition system eliminates the pilot light, further reducing the amount of gas used to light the stove.

Energy source aside, the Center offers a few other energy efficiency considerations as you look for the best energy efficient stoves:

  • Today’s stoves often have different burner elements. Induction elements are the most energy efficient, the Center says, using 90 percent of their energy for cooking. (A gas burner typically uses 55 percent.) An induction element can boil water up to 50 percent faster than other cooking elements.
  • Self-cleaning ovens have more insulation than standard ovens. This means they keep in the heat better and therefore use less energy.
  • Convection ovens circulate the heated air by use of a fan. This distributes the heat more evenly than other ovens, enabling you to reduce cooking time and temperatures, and therefore potentially reduce energy use.

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How to Shop for the Best Energy Efficient Microwaves

A microwave’s most energy efficient moment comes when you use it to cook something instead of heating up your entire oven. Choosing to cook with a microwave vs. an oven can mean using as much as 80 percent less energy, ENERGY STAR says. Microwaves also don’t heat up your kitchen, making them a potentially better choice in hot summer weather.

That said, not all microwaves are created equally. Here are some pointers when shopping Presidents Day appliance sales for the best energy efficient microwaves, especially since microwaves do not get ENERGY STAR certification:

  • Shop for the right size microwave. Smaller microwaves — those using 600-800 watts — are generally more energy efficient than mid-sized or larger ones, the Consumer Energy Center states. Buy the size you need.
  • Temperature probes and variable power settings can also help your microwave operate more energy efficiently.

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How to Shop for the Best Energy Efficient Washer

Going with an ENERGY STAR-rated washing machine when you’re trying to find the best energy efficient washer is always a good place to start — the federal agency has a stringent evaluation system before giving its energy efficiency seal of approval. In 2017, ENERGY STAR included washing machines in its new measurement category, which includes cutting edge energy efficiency as well as the latest technological innovations. No matter which washing machine you currently have, you can save energy by following smart laundry tips.

Beyond the ENERGY STAR label, when shopping for the best energy efficient washer, here are a few other tips to keep in mind:

  • If your washer is over 10 years old, it is probably time to replace it if you want save on energy costs. Models built before 2003 use more water and have systems that do not extract the moisture as effectively.
  • Front-loading washing machines typically use less water and extract the moisture from the clothes more efficiently, Consumer Reports says, than their top-loading counterparts.

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How to Shop for the Best Energy Efficient Dryer

In the energy battle of which is more energy efficient — a gas vs. electric dryer — the gas one wins. The main reason is that natural gas is, overall, less expensive. That said, there are other tips to keep in mind when looking for the best energy efficient dryer. Here are some pointers from ENERGY STAR:

  • Look for a dryer with a sensor drying option. Use this rather than timed drying so that the dryer stops when the clothes are done rather than when the timer finishes.
  • Look for dryers that have low settings. Drying longer on low heat setting uses less energy overall.

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How to Shop for the Best Energy Efficient Vacuum Cleaner

In the U.S., unlike Europe, vacuums are not given energy ratings. Most people choose a vacuum cleaner based on preference for size and type of surface they need to regularly clean. Upright vacuum cleaners tend to cost less than canister vacuums and have a wider cleaning swath — they’re carpet workhorses. They can be tough to navigate in certain spaces like stairs, and don’t clean bare floors as well their canister cousins. These differences aside, here are some pointers for looking for the best energy efficient vacuum cleaner:

  • A vacuum cleaner with a motorized brush will clean your carpets more thoroughly than a cleaner that uses only suction.
  • Look for a vacuum that uses between 600 and 800 watts for the best energy efficiency.

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How to Shop for the Best Energy Efficient Air Conditioner

Whether you’re contemplating the most energy efficient central air conditioning or a window unit, you’ll want to find something that’s ENERGY STAR-certified, for sure. Those systems have been vetted for efficiency and the best federal standards. ENERGY STAR room air conditioners, for instance, use 10 percent less energy, on average. Here are a couple more tips to consider:

  • Make sure you pick a unit that is correctly sized for the room you are trying to cool.
  • When installing, make sure the window unit fits tightly so outdoor air is not getting in.

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How to Shop for the Best Energy Efficient Space Heater

Space heaters, which come in a variety of forms, can be an affordable way to heat a small space in your home or augment your home heating system. Finding the best energy efficient space heater, however, means paying attention to a few details besides the energy source of the heater and its size:

  • Choose a space heater with a thermostat so you can operate the heater more efficiently by selecting the lowest setting that keeps a room comfortable.
  • Choose a space heater with a timer so it’s not on when you’re not in the room.

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How to Shop for the Best Energy Efficient Window Fan

For the most part, window fans are fairly standard in how they operate. The critical part is their ability to blow cooler air into the room you’re hoping to cool. There are however a few steps you can take to make sure you have the best energy efficient window fan:

  • Make sure the fan fits well into the window so that outside air is not leaking in through the sides, offsetting the benefits of the cool air by adding warm outside air.
  • Look for a window fan that has built-in humidity and temperature sensors. These can sense indoor and outdoor conditions, and thus run only when the outside air is cooler and drier than inside air.

There you have it! A list of what to keep in mind as you shop for the most energy efficient appliances during Presidents Day appliance sales. Hope you find what you’re looking for!

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